30 Traditional And Good Canadian Food In Canada To Try

Please note that some posts may contain affiliate links. We may earn a commission should you choose to purchase using these links but at absolutely no extra cost to you.

Canada often considered as one of the world’s best countries, but you may wonder how good Canadian food is. Since Canada is a melting pot of cultures represented by diverse communities throughout the country, the food game is actually off the charts. Canadian food is a rich blend of multicultural cuisine, indigenous specialties, and some of the old classics we all know and love.

Canada is known for being home to 450 different ethnic groups who have brought their cultures, traditions, and food to the country. No matter what type of food you like, you’ll find something to appreciate in the diverse Canadian cuisine. Here are some of the best Canadian foods to look out for when you’re here.

What’s Special About Canadian Food?

From coast to coast, countless dishes have been passed down and perfected over generations. Canadian foods are a great blend of the original settlers’ European meals and the regional cuisine from different waves of immigration ever since. And not only do you get the different cultures’ good food in Canada, but also the traditional food in Canada from the Indigenous tribes.

The Indigenous communities were the original inhabitants of Canada and their traditions still run deep. They thrived and lived off the land, crafting nourishing, sustainable food from the animals they hunted and plants they foraged for. The tribes in Quebec were even the first to collect and use one of Canada’s greatest resources – maple syrup!

Canada’s delicacies are pretty incredible. The food scene here is like getting the best buffet of what the entire world offers. Whether you’re in the mood for curries from the Caribbean or just a good old-fashioned burger, you can easily find it in this country.

Most Famous Food In Canada

Poutine (Fries, Gravy & Cheese Curds)

canada-poutine-dish

Poutine is a world-famous dish that has won the hearts of millions, maybe even billions of people around the globe. It’s an iconic Canadian meal that you need to put on and then cross off your bucket list.

Don’t worry if you’re vegan, you won’t be left out. Canada’s got you covered by offering vegan poutine options for you. 

Poutine is a delicious take on an old classic – fries, and gravy, just with a little bit of French flair. It was invented in Quebec snack bars in the 1950s by just adding cheese curds to fries and gravy to melt.

Since it’s also the most famous of the national dishes of Canada, you can get it everywhere. Town, city, country fair – this easy-to-make delicacy is readily available and Canadians talk about it proudly. If you want a bit more excitement, you can also dress it up with shredded lobster meat, pulled pork, or even bacon.

National Canadian Food Dishes

Montreal-Style Bagel (Honey-Sweetened Bagel)

traditional-canadian-breakfast

If you’re looking for an easy, no-fuss Canadian breakfast, the Montreal-style bagel is a winner. The Montreal bagel is smaller, sweeter, and denser than the New York-style variant. The Jewish community brought the bagel to Montreal and it has been a city-wide staple ever since.

Each bagel is made by hand and then poached in honey and water before it’s baked in a wood-fired oven. Trust us when we say you’ll have a good time sinking your teeth into one of these!

 

PeaMeal Sandwich (Kaiser Bun, Bacon & Toppings)

delicious-peameal-sandwich

This famous Toronto food is another extremely popular Canadian breakfast. A huge percent of Canada’s population lives in Toronto, so really, that many people can’t be wrong.

That said, each province has a slightly different food style so if you’d ask an Albertan about this, they might just stare at you blankly.

These delicious breakfast sandwiches can be customized in pretty much any way you would like. Its base is cured pork loin bacon that has been rolled in cornmeal and perfectly grilled. Served on a Kaiser bun, you can then choose to add mustard, maple syrup, lettuce, pickles, or even avocados.

Alberta Steak (Beef Steak)

canadian-beef-steak

Alberta beef is known for being some of the best in the world, as their diet is grass-fed and grain-finished. Most of the world relies on corn to feed but the diet of Alberta cows results in extremely rich, juicy, marbled steaks that are consistently high quality.

Canada is home to many renewed steakhouses and you’ll be able to get a sizzling hot steak that is cooked to perfection. You can get many different cuts of meat but the most popular are ribeye, sirloin, filet mignon, and porterhouse. If you’re looking for good Canadian food, a mouth-watering Alberta steak will surely satisfy you!

Despite having access to Wagyu – the best beef in the world, Japan is still one of the largest importers of Alberta beef. That is a nod to the quality of this Canadian meat!

Tourtiere (Meat Pie)

famous-meat-pie

This traditional French-Canadian meat pie makes a regular appearance around the holiday season in Canada. It’s a delicious blend of ground beef, pork, onions, garlic, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg housed in a flaky pastry crust. Tourtiere is usually served with ketchup or cranberry sauce to dip.

With many French communities spread across the country, you’ll find this beloved dish almost anywhere you go. It’s a popular, well-loved classic Canadian cuisine that will have you falling in love with it at your very first bite.

Prairie Oysters

So we don’t want to alarm you or make you gag but just wanted to give you a heads-up that this next dish is a little unconventional. 

Prairie oysters are not actually oysters, but bull (or bison) testicles that have been cut off, deep-fried, and served. They do kind of look like oysters though. 

If you’re feeling adventurous, you can try a few which are served with a variety of seasonings and sauces. Some people say that they taste just like chicken!

Although this dish may make you cringe, Prairie oysters are a famous Canadian food that some locals thoroughly love. So if you’re down to try all the unique and traditional food in Canada, this is one offering to keep your mind open to.

packing-list-travel-europe

Main Dishes Of Canadian Food

Montreal Smoked Meat (Brined & Smoked Beef Brisket)

Another national treasure on the Canadian foods highlight reel is Montreal smoked meat. You’ll find this dish almost everywhere. If you’re in Montreal anyways checking out some of the biggest Canadian landmarks, you might as well try one.

It’s made by brining a beef brisket for 10 days with mustard seeds, coriander, and black pepper. The meat is then smoked and steamed until it’s tender and juicy and served as one amazing sandwich. This typical Canadian food tastes best on rye bread with pickles and mustard.

Butter Chicken (Chicken In Tomato Cream Sauce)

 Indian cuisine in general is hugely popular and a favorite cultural food in Canada for many. One of the most popular dishes in the country is the flavorful butter chicken served with naan bread. When making butter chicken, the chicken is perfectly tenderized and slowly cooked in a tomato-based sauce.

There are many thriving Indian communities in different areas of Canada so no matter where you are, you’ll be able to find some. Hot tip – if you find yourself traveling in Canada during winter, butter chicken will warm you right up.

Donairs (Spiced Beef Pita Wrap)

Originally brought to Canada from Turkey in the form of kebabs, it was quickly modified in Halifax, Nova Scotia. The Donair was born and is an amazing fusion of both Middle Eastern and Canadian cuisine. If you’re heading out for drinks, donair shops are open late and they make the perfect late-night snack.

Donairs are made with spiced beef, lamb, or chicken that is spit-roasted on a rotisserie. The meat is thinly shaved off and served as a wrap in pita bread and topped with lettuce, tomatoes, onions, and a sweet tangy sauce.

Sushi Pizza (Sushi Served On Crispy Rice)

popular-sushi-pizza

Another cool Canadian fusion invention is the Sushi Pizza. Invented in Toronto but now more widely available, sushi pizza is a fun take on traditional sushi. 

It’s a fun-to-eat food from Canada that will amaze you with its tasty layers. If you’re not sure of what to try, just stick to the basics – salmon, crab, tuna, and avocado.

Sushi pizza is served on a crispy rice crust and the toppings are cooked through. The pizza is then drizzled with sauces that add that little bit of magic to your meal. It’s one of the things Toronto is known for.

Japadog (Japanese-Seasoned Hot Dog)

canadian-food-japadog

These fusion hot dogs were first seen in Vancouver, and have been popping up more and more across the country. Japadogs are the ultimate level-up of a hot dog. They’re served on a soft bun and topped with Japanese ingredients like seaweed, wasabi, and teriyaki sauce.

Vegetarian and chicken options are also available – as well as plenty of choices for toppings! Seriously, we can’t even explain to you how good their Yakiniku & Yakisoba dog is, just go and try one now!

Lobster Roll (Lobster Served In Bun)

traditional-lobster-roll

 Lobster rolls were originally a popular dish from New England but with the many lobsters in the Canadian Maritimes, Canadians figured they should make it their own.

The lobster roll is a buttery warm sandwich filled with chunks of cooked lobster meat and topped with mayonnaise. You can also get this served cold in more of a salad style with chopped celery and onions.

If you’re lucky enough to be on the coast to try this Canadian dish, you’ll find it everywhere from food trucks to restaurants. However, if you’re more inland in the prairies, you can just find a seafood restaurant to sample this drool-worthy Canadian cuisine.

Jigg’s Dinner (Beef Brisket & Potato)

delicious-jigg’s-dinner

Jigg’s Dinner is a traditional Canadian food that’s also great for keeping warm in winter. Similar to a shepherd’s pie, this dish is an iconic Newfoundland meal that’s slow-cooked to greatness. It’s a homestyle meal consisting of beef, peas, potatoes, carrots, turnips, and cabbage.

Fish & Brewis (Salted Cod & Bread)

Fish and Brewis is one of those traditional foods in Canada that have been passed down from generation to generation. It was created in Newfoundland and dates back to the early years when fish used to be preserved with salt for trade.

This hearty meal is made of salted cod that is boiled down with potatoes and mixed with a bread called ‘hardtack’. This is then added to rendered pork fat to create a salty, satisfying dish. If you’re invited to an East Coast wedding, you can bet you’ll see fish and brewis served. 

Canadian Food – Vegetarian Dishes

Falafel (Chickpea Or Beans With Herbs)

falafel-in-canada

 The thriving Middle Eastern Canadian community has made falafel wildly famous across the country. These crispy deep-fried balls are made from chickpeas or beans and ground with fresh herbs and spices. Their soft warm insides and crunchy outsides are a treat dipped in hummus.

Shepherd’s Pie (Vegetarian Beef Or Lentils Baked In A Pastry)

traditional-shepherd's-pie

Shepherd’s Pie is an old-timey dish that originated in Ireland back in the day. Lucky for us there is a huge Irish population in Canada so they brought this with them and different variations have evolved since. This classic Canadian food is a must-try if you’re feeling homey.

The vegetarian version of shepherd’s pie is made with either plant-based ground beef substitutes or lentils. It’s cooked together with carrots, celery, onions, and mashed potatoes. Once the mixture thickens into a stew-like filling, it’s added into a flaky crust and baked until it’s golden brown.

Three Sisters Stew (Corn, Beans & Squash Stew)

The three sisters in cooking refer to the three main crops that the Indigenous people grew – corn, beans, and squash. This trifecta of vegetables grows well together and can create a variety of healthy meals. This traditional Canadian food is a delicious staple that represents the connection between the people and the land.

It’s made by cooking corn, beans, and squash in a savory broth and simmering it with garlic, onions, and spices.

Canadian Food – Tastiest Soups

Pea Soup (Split Pea Soup)

canadian-pea-soup

It gets cold on the Canadian East Coast and there’s nothing better to warm you up than the traditional Canadian dish, pea soup. This favorite among Newfoundland locals is a hearty delicious soup that will have you licking the bowl clean.

This Canadian comfort food is made from split peas, onions, potatoes, and ham. It is usually served alongside some dough boys (dumplings) for the perfect dipping side.

Borscht (Beet, Veggie & Meat Soup)

borscht-in-canada

An Eastern European soup that Canadians love so dearly is the earthy soup known as ‘borscht’. 

There is a huge Ukrainian population that resides in Canada and it seems like they all have their grandma’s recipe! Made from beets, onions, cabbage, and meat, it can be served hot or cold and is delicious either way.

Clam Chowder (Creamy Clam Soup)

famous-clam-chowder

Canadians sure love their soups and for good reason, some days it’s the only way to warm up. Clam chowder is another famous Canadian food that’s popular all across Canada, especially in the Maritime provinces. 

This internationally famous soup needs no real introduction and is always a great go-to dish. Clam chowder is made with fresh clams, potatoes, onions, and cream and seasoned to perfection.

Traditional Canadian Food – Light Dishes, Snacks, & Street Food

Ktunaxa Fry Bread (Flour, Sugar & Lard Based Fried Dough)

The Ktunaxa tribe of Indigenous people is found in British Columbia and Alberta. They started making fry bread when the early settlers brought new ingredients such as flour, sugar, and lard for trade. You can now find it as a popular Canadian street food at trucks and restaurants throughout the country.

The fry bread is made and served in Indigenous restaurants and food trucks across the country. It’s very delicious, yet simple as it just involves making dough and frying it in hot oil. The slightly sweet bread can be topped with venison, beef, and vegetables, or you can add honey if you want a dessert.

Pemmican (Dried Meat)

A Canadian food made by the Indigenous people that’s similar to jerky is pemmican. It has been a staple in their way of life and diet for centuries as it was easy to store and transport. Pemmican is made from bison, elk, or cow meat and pounded and dried with rendered fat.

California Rolls (Crab, Avocado & Cucumber Sushi Roll)

California rolls are an important part of any sushi spread, and are one of the best Canadian snacks. This food in Canada is exceptionally well made because of all of the coastal cities. Whether you’re in New Brunswick or Vancouver or somewhere in between, coast to coast you’ll find some pretty fine California rolls.

Caesar (Clamato Juice & Vodka Cocktail)

canadian-drink-caesar

Yes, we know technically this is a drink, but hear us out. You’ll need a drink to wash down all that good Canadian food anyway.

Caesar is a cocktail invented in Canada similar to a bloody mary, but much better. It has vodka, tomato juice, broth, and Worcestershire sauce.

Usually, a caesar is served with a celery-salt rimmed glass and garnished with lime and celery, but Canadians have stepped it up. Across the country, you will now find the garnish sometimes being pretty much a whole meal. Some places have been garnishing their caesars with burgers, fried chicken, hot dogs, and a brownie for dessert!

Best Canadian Desserts

Nanaimo Bars (Chocolate & Coconut Dessert Bar)

popular-nanaimo-bars

One of the most popular Canadian desserts across the country is Nanaimo bars. These chocolate and coconut bars with a recognizable yellow custard layer are a fan favorite for locals and tourists alike. 

Created in the city of Nanaimo, BC, these bars are a tasty treat that you can find across the country.

BeaverTails (Fried Dough Pastry)

Whenever you go to a festival or outdoor event in Canada, you’ll smell the sweet aroma of BeaverTails in the air. These deep-fried dough desserts resemble the look of a beaver tail, hence the name. 

Once they are golden brown, they are topped with whatever your heart desires – fruit & creme, chocolate spread, or sugar and cinnamon.

Butter Tarts (Tart Pastry)

traditional-tart-pastry

These delectable little tarts are going to be in your top five list of the greatest things you have ever tasted.

Butter tarts are small tarts that can be found everywhere, even in the grocery store! They are a perfect crusted tart filled with a rich mixture of butter, sugar, eggs, and vanilla. The crust balances out the sweet filling, leaving you with a dessert that is pretty close to perfect!

Saskatoon Berry Pie

famous-berry-pie

Another food on the goodies list from the land of Canada is the Saskatoon berry pie. Made from juicy Saskatoon berries, the pie is the ultimate blend of fruity and sweet. 

The berries are small and look like blueberries, only red and they taste amazing with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. 

You might even find these berries in other delectable treats as they also make for great ingredients in various recipes.

Maple Syrup

canada-maple-syrup

If you’re going to Canada, trying maple syrup on anything (or everything) is a must-do! It’s a national pride and eating this sweet, all-natural syrup will make you feel like royalty. 

You can drizzle it on your BeaverTail, get maple syrup fudge, or even have it fresh out of the tree and frozen in the snow on a stick. 

And if there’s one way to bring a taste of Canada with you, this is it! Don’t forget to buy some home for the perfect souvenir.

Ketchup Chips (Ketchup Flavoured Potato Chips)

The locals had no idea that this time-treasured food Canada is famous for was such a hot commodity. Ketchup chips are not available for sale in the USA or UK and while you can get them on Amazon, the prices are criminal!

So while you’re in Canada, take full advantage of this coveted Canadian snack food and stuff your face with this unbelievable chip flavor. They’re the perfect mix of sweet, spicy, and tangy and the perfect dessert to end a day touring around.

FLAVORS AROUND THE WORLD

Discovering The Best Canadian Food

One of the facts about Canada is that it’s beyond perfect for whenever you want to grab a meal. In the cities, there is always a great range of shops, food trucks, and restaurants offering delicious cuisines.. And if you’re not in the city, we’re sure that those small-town diners will have something fun to try.

Whether you’re looking for a nice steakhouse or just a place to grab some dessert, you will have lots of options in this country. The Canadian food scene really matches the theme of the entire country. It’s eclectic, diverse, and wonderful – you will have a great time visiting and eating anywhere you go!


PIN THESE CANADIAN FOOD FOR LATER!

PLANNING YOUR TRIP? CHECK THESE RESOURCES!

Book Your Flight

I usually use a combination of 2-3 of the following search engines to find cheap flights: Skyscanner, Momondo, Google Flights

Find Your Accommodation

Booking.com is my usual platform for finding accommodation options as they have one of the largest selections. Hostelworld is great for booking hostels. For more private or long term accommodation, Airbnb is my go-to platform.

Travel Insurance

Travel insurance is important for to protect yourself against unforeseen circumstances. I usually look at a few insurance companies depending on my travel needs.
  • SafetyWings for Travel Health Insurance
  • IMG Global for added Insurance when doing activities outside of usual coverage
Packing for your trip? Check out the packing list for ideas on what to bring

For more travel resources, check out my resources page for best platforms and companies to use when you travel.

More Adventures

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Welcome To NomadsUnveiled
This is Rax. For over a decade, I have traveled to over 60 countries - from a budget backpacker to a business traveler, expat and then a digital nomad. You can find insights and perspectives from myself and other world travelers that will inspire your journey of discovery.

LONG TERM TRAVEL INSURANCE

other stories